Monday, 27 April 2020 17:18

Covid-19 and the Local Planning Industry:

A lot has happened to our world since last year’s Introductory Newsletter!

At the time of writing, South Africa is in the process of transitioning from a 5 week almost total lockdown to Level 4 of 5 Levels of Government Restrictions imposed to limit the spread of the Covid-19 Pandemic. It seems likely that various restrictions on personal movement and economic activity will persist for several months to come.

The key questions we seek to answer in this newsletter are: how will this “new normal” affect the services Bettesworth Scott are able to offer our clients; and secondly what will be the impact on the local planning industry.

We are pleased to inform you that all of us at Bettesworth Scott are fully set up for work from home, and in that sense (with the exception of site visits and face to face meetings) we are able to offer our clients the full range of town planning services. In fact now is an ideal time for us to prepare and submit planning applications on your behalf, so that these approvals can either be in place or at least advanced in being processed, by the time commercial and residential construction projects are permitted to resume. The lockdown is also an ideal time for development feasibility assessments, submission of applications for lease or purchase of Council or Provincial owned land and any other town planning processes required in order to enhance your property portfolio. We at Bettesworth Scott will be happy to assist – no project is too big or too small!

As a service to our clients, the broader town planning industry and the property industry as a whole, David as Chairman of the South African Association of Consulting Professional Planners: South Region (SAACPP) has been at the forefront of engaging with the different levels of Government on behalf of the planning industry in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

This response has included:
Actively engaging with top officials at the City of Cape Town and Provincial Government as to how private and public sector planners can best collectively navigate our way through the new normal.
Commenting to National Government on the impact of the various draft restrictions set out for Levels 5 to 1, on the planning industry (and construction industry).

We are pleased to report that our City and Provincial planning colleagues are doing everything possible to ensure that service delivery and the ongoing processing of planning applications remains as at close to normal levels as possible during the coming months. Suggestions from the private sector have been well received and collective solutions are being sought. At the time of writing most City planning officials are now working remotely and have access to the DAMS online processing system. Province is working with municipalities to allow for electronic submissions. Electronic advertising and circulation and even virtual Planning Tribunal and Appeals Committee meetings are now being actively prepared for. We must commend our public sector colleagues for their willingness to embrace new ways of working and their commitment to “keep the lights on”.

In other news, the amendments to the City of Cape Town’s Municipal Planning By Law mentioned in our previous newsletter, have now been adopted. Please feel free to contact us for advice regarding these new regulations.

Best Wishes from all of us at Bettesworth Scott – keep safe!



Bettesworth Scott (Pty) Ltd is a multi-disciplinary urban planning and property development consulting practice which offers a diverse range of services for all residential, commercial and industrial developments.


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